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Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Media Production Skills

Course Code:
15PANH050
Unit value:
0.5
Year of study:
Year 1 or Year 2
Taught in:
Term 2

In a growing number of disciplines, students and researchers are encouraged/required to explore and present their subject matter in forms that are 'beyond text' with the aid of audiovisual material. This new half-unit graduate-level course in ‘Media Production Skills’ aims to provide postgraduate students with multimedia training and practice that can be used during fieldwork and for coursework presentation. Students will learn to harness a variety of media technologies including cameras, digital movie cameras and audio recording equipment, and they will be introduced to basic approaches to curating images, sounds, artefacts, and various computational aspects of research. These practical media skills are not taught in isolation, but reflected by discussion of the theoretical and methodological discourses surrounding them.

Prerequisites

As this is a practice-based course, the number of students is limited. We therefore ask students interested in taking this course to either visit the course convenor in the Media Lab (room G61, next to the library entrance), or e-mail dh21@soas.ac.uk with the following information: student name, programme of study, previous media experience (camera, sound, editing etc.), and how they intend to combine this course with their studies.

NOTE: recruitment has closed for 2011-12

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

The aim of this course is to provide students with the following skills:

  • Practical knowledge and understanding of a variety of media and computational technologies relevant to fieldwork and data collection, and to the dissemination and presentation of research. Media technologies and computational tools introduced on the course include digital cameras, digital video and sound recording equipment, and analytical and editing software.
  • Ability to design, develop and execute a short research project.
  • Ability to select an appropriate media form for exploring and representing a given research topic.
  • Critical engagement with relevant literature on media technologies and production techniques.
  • Awareness of the ethical issues underlying media use in research (e.g. the BBC Producers Guidelines or the Association of Social Anthropologists' (ASA) Ethical Guidelines), and an ability to apply the relevant professional guidelines to fieldwork and research presentation.
  • Basic interviewing skills.
  • Ability to keep a regular log of learning and practical development, and of techniques explored and results obtained.
  • Creative experimentation, analytic reflection, self critique and problem solving.
  • Ability to organize, analyze and present research data and ideas in a variety of non-textual formats.
  • Appreciation of audience reception.

A number of the transferable skills listed above are also expected to enhance students' employment chances - both within and outside their discipline.

Workload

A one-hour lecture and a one-hour practical tutorial per week. Students will have access to the resources of the G61 media lab to practice and produce their coursework outside these contact hours, and they are also encouraged to enrol in additional (free) media training workshops offered in G61 that will allow them to further develop their skills in the chosen media form.

Scope and syllabus

course schedule and topics:
  • session 1: Introduction to Media Production Skills 
  • session 2: Media - Data Production - Data Management 
  • session 3: Photography 
  • session 4: Audio Media Production 
  • session 5: Video Production 
  • session 6: Geo-media 
  • session 7: Audio-Video Recording: Wrap-up 
  • session 8: Internet and Media Production 
  • session 9: Media and Communication of Research 
  • session 10: Computational Tools 
  • weeks 1(&2) of term three: Student Presentations and Revision Lecture

Dr. David Henig will convene the course, and provide technical support and advice to students throughout.

Method of assessment

Coursework for evaluation consists of the written research project (70%), and an in-class power point presentation (30%). The final written assessment is due on Day 1, Week 2 of Term 3.
There is no exam for this course.

Suggested reading

Brief overview of key texts (will be expanded and complemented by a structured reading and online resources list at the beginning of the course):

  • Banks, Marcus (2001): Visual Methods in Social Research, London, Sage.
  • Bauer, Martin W. & Gaskell, George (eds.) (2000): Qualitiative Researching with Text, Image and Sound: a practical handbook, Sage, London
  • BBC (2009): Editorial Guidelines, [URL: http://www.bbc.co.uk/guidelines/editorialguidelines/edguide/ accessed on 27/04/2009]
  • Bernard, H. Russell & RYAN, Gerry W. (2009): Analyzing Qualitative Data: Systematic Approaches, London, SAGE.
  • Brown, Blair (2008): Motion Picture and Video Lighting, Focal Press, Burlington, MA
  • Collier, John Jr. & Collier, Malcolm ([1967], completely revised 1986): Visual Anthropology, Photography as a research method, University of New Mexico Press
  • Devereaux, Leslie & Hillman, Roger (eds.) (1995): Fields of Vision. Essays in Film Studies, Visual Anthropology, and Photography, University of California Press, Berkeley
  • Fischer, Michael D. (1994): Applications In Computing For Social Anthropologists, London, Routledge.
  • Greene, Paul D. & Porcello, Thomas (eds.) (2005): Wired for Sound. Engineering and Technology in Sonic Cultures, Wesleyan UP, Middletown, CT
  • Katz, Mark (2004): Capturing Sound: how technology has changed music, University of California Press, Berkeley
  • Loizos, Peter (1993): Innovation in Ethnographic Film, Manchester UP, Manchester
  • MacKay, Nancy (2007): Curating Oral Histories: from interview to archive, Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, CA
  • Peck, Akkana (2008): Beginning Gimp: from novice to professional (2nd ed.) Apress, Berkeley, CA
  • Pink, Sarah (2007): Doing Visual Ethnography: images, media and representation in research (2nd ed.), Sage, London
  • Rabiger, Michael (2009): Directing the Documentary (5th ed.), Focal Press, Burlington, MA
  • Russell, Catherine (1999): Experimental Ethnography: the work of film in the age of video, Duke University Press, 1999.
  • Sontag, Susan (1979): On Photography, Penguin, Harmondsworth
  • Taylor, Lucien (ed.): Visualizing Theory, Routledge, New York
  • Wells, Liz (ed) (2004): Photography: a critical introduction (3rd ed.), Routledge, London